How cheap did you get that TV?

Lots of people have a family and friends, and are pretty much forced to shell out some bucks for gifts during the holiday season no matter how little money they might have. Wow, that sounded cynical... let me start over

The holiday season! When we lovingly bestow thoughtful gifts unto our loved ones! If the estimates are to be believed, the amount spent per person this year will only average $616... the lowest it's been since, well, before the beginning of this graph.

This incredibly low number actually makes this question even more interesting: what if the entire population of Arizona shifted just 10% of it's holiday spending to locally owned businesses this year? A 2002 study by Civic Economics states that local businesses can keep 45% of it's earning in the local community while national chains usually keep only 13% in the community. According to the US Census Bureau, there are approximately 6,595,778 people in Arizona.

(Warning: math ahead. Feel free to skip ahead to the point.) Okay, first off let's just boil it down to the 10% that we're asking people to shift at the very least. Now let's just boil it down to you, not including everyone else. So if you're going to spend $616 total and pledge to shift 10%, that's $61.10 spent with the local guys. If you were to spend that at a national chain, only $7.94 would remain in your community when all is said and done. But since you shifted it to the locals, you kept $27.50 in your hood!

Now let's blow that back up: If everyone in the state did this whole shift 10% thing, we're talking about a total of $403,002,035 (remember, this is just 10% of the total projected holiday spending). So if by some magical happenings everyone were to shift this amount to locals, $181,350,915 would remain in the state vs. $52,390,265 with the big boxes.

The Point

Yeah, finally. The point is that if everyone in Arizona shifted just 10% of their shopping to locally owned businesses this holiday season (and remember, this is the lowest estimated average in over a decade), we could actually keep an extra $128,960,650 in our economy than if that exact same money was spent at the big boxes. So tell me again, how cheap did you get that TV?